California Dreamin': The best hotels for golfers on the Monterey Peninsula

The home of Pebble Beach offers numerous resorts, hotels and inns.
The newest lodging option at Pebble Beach: Fairway One, along the first fairway of the Pebble Beach course.

Every golfer dreams of a getaway to California's Monterey Peninsula.

Staying at Pebble Beach Resorts and playing Pebble Beach Golf Links is the ultimate goal usually, but it doesn't have to be. There are many fine area resorts, hotels and courses beyond Pebble Beach and plenty of other things to do than just golf, too. This is a northern California destination that has it all - beautiful beaches for families, incredible hiking for outdoor adventurists and great dining and shopping for couples.

So where should you stay? There are hotels, inns and resorts of all shapes, sizes and styles. The region's four golf resorts - yes, there are four - make the most sense, but a number of area hotels also offer golf packages or are ideally located near courses. Or you can try something different: The Inns of Monterey, a marketing collection of historic properties, could work for golfers, especially for a couple looking for a uniquely local experience within walking distance of shops and restaurants.

Wherever you book, know this: Only a reservation at Pebble Beach Resorts guarantees a tee time at Pebble Beach. With that said, here's another Deegan's Dozen, the 12 best places to stay for golfers on the Monterey Peninsula:

  1. Pebble Beach Resorts, Pebble Beach
    The 24-room Casa Palmero provides the most intimate and luxurious accommodations at Pebble Beach.

    Pebble Beach Resorts offers three choices, each with their own versions of luxury and amenities. The Inn at Spanish Bay is the most affordable and I'd argue, maybe, the best alternative. Guests can end every day by hanging out near the outdoor firepits at the restaurant Sticks, while being serenaded by the bagpipes at dusk. Roy's might be my favorite restaurant at the entire resort, although I haven't sampled Peppoli's Tuscan-inspired cuisine yet. Sticks serves good comfort food to go with its casual vibe.

    The Lodge at Pebble Beach, one of the most historic hotels in golf, is slightly more expensive due to its proximity to the first tee and the Shoppes at Pebble Beach. The Taproom is one of golf's iconic 19th holes, but there are lots of choices for food and drinks: The Bench (on the ground with indoor and outdoor seating) and the more elegant Stillwater Bar & Grill (above the Bench) overlook the 18th green. The Gallery Cafe, located near the Shoppes, is best for breakfast or lunch.

    Adjacent to the Lodge is the new Fairway One at the Lodge, which includes 38 guestrooms as well as two four-bedroom cottages for foursomes, families or groups. Casa Palmero, a Mediterranean estate, is the most luxurious retreat with 24 rooms, its own pool and over-the-top personal service. Whatever option you choose, consider yourself lucky. Imagine how many people would love to trade places.

  2. Quail Lodge & Golf Club, Carmel Valley
    Guests of Quail Lodge & Golf Club can enjoy breakfast or food and drinks on this patio.

    Earlier this decade, a three-year closure and $28 million modernized this charming 90-room lodge and its compelling Robert Muir Graves course. The 800-acre resort has a lot of charisma with plenty to do for families, such as a free putting course, bocce ball and a heated outdoor pool. Architect Todd Echenrode brought drought-friendly landscaping and shapely bunkering to the 6,464-yard course. It's as fun to play as any course in northern California.

  3. Hyatt Regency Monterey Hotel & Spa, Monterey
    The Hyatt Regency Monterey Hotel and Spa, the largest hotel on the Monterey Peninsula, is a great spot for golfers.

    With 550 rooms, including 32 suites, the Hyatt Regency Monterey is the largest hotel on the peninsula. It attracts all sorts of guests. Golfers can play Del Monte, the oldest course in continuous operation west of the Mississippi (it's actually owned by the Pebble Beach Company). Business travelers and wedding parties use the banquet facilities. Vacationers have the outdoor pool or can walk 15 minutes to the beach or the shops and restaurants of Fisherman's Wharf Monterey. Live jazz music livens up the Fireplace Lounge on Fridays and Saturdays. Knuckles is the best sports bar around, and TusCA Ristorante serves a menu of California meets Italy, all fused together in an open kitchen.

  4. Carmel Valley Ranch, Carmel Valley
    The Carmel Valley Ranch Lodge glows at sunset.

    A $20-million renovation completed in 2015 has this 500-acre property sparkling. Spa, tennis, golf, swimming, exploring trails, even interactive lessons with bee hives - they're all part of the adventures at Carmel Valley Ranch. The 6,100-yard, par-70 course by Pete Dye delivers nice views from several elevated tees.

  5. Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa, Monterey
    The Monterey Plaza Hotel is an easy walk to Cannery Row.

    I stayed at the 290-room Plaza during my first visit to Pebble Beach in 2003. It's in a great location on the coast just a block from Cannery Row, home to shops, restaurants and the world-famous Monterey Bay Aquarium. An award-winning rooftop spa and Schooner's Coastal Kitchen & Bar are two of its special attractions. Once the hotel's coastal curators book your tee time, courtesy land rovers can offer shuttle service to the course.

  6. Monterey Tides, Monterey
    The beachfront location is the big draw of staying at Monterey Tides.

    The peninsula's only hotel right on the beach wrapped up a $12-million renovation in 2017 under the guidance of Joie de Vivre Hotels. Splashes of colors and new furnishings have jazzed up the 196 rooms. The waves are so close that they lull guests to sleep at night. Bar Sebastian and Vizcaino Waterfront Food + Drink are the dining options. Just make sure to save room for the S'mores at the beach bonfire. A heated pool will entertain the children if the ocean chill is too much.

  7. Hyatt Carmel Highlands, Carmel
    A renovation has improved the beautiful Hyatt Carmel Highlands.

    The Highlands celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2017 by wrapping up a major modernization project that updated the 48 guest rooms, the lobby, the popular Sunset Lounge and the gourmet restaurant, the California Market at Pacific's Edge. Perched on the hillside of the Carmel Highlands with breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean, this haven for artists and discerning travelers opened in 1917 as the Highland Inn.

  8. Carmel Mission Inn, Carmel
    Carmel Mission Inn welcomes golfers.

    A heated swimming pool, rooms with a fridge and the Fuse Lounge Cafe are just some of the reasons to stay at the Carmel Mission Inn. With 300 days of sun a year, the valley offers better weather than the coast, although it can get hot in the summer. A golf package in a deluxe room includes breakfast for two and a round of golf for two (cart included) at Carmel Valley Ranch, the only Pete Dye course in NoCal.

  9. Portola Hotel & Spa, Monterey
    The Portola Hotel & Spa offers stay and plays for golfers.

    This 379-room hotel, located in the heart of downtown Monterey, might offer the best combination of accommodations and golf course among the non-golf resorts. Three restaurants, including a brewpub, and the peninsula's largest day spa serve guests. A golf package for two players includes a round at Poppy Hills Golf Course. The home course of the Northern California Golf Association was completely revived in 2014 by original architect Robert Trent Jones Jr., who created a firmer, more engaging challenge.

  10. Rosedale Inn, Pacific Grove
    The Rosedale Inn offers golf packages to play Pacific Grove.

    The Rosedale offers a golf retreat package that includes a night stay in a King room, a round at Pacific Grove Golf Links for two players, extended continental breakfast and complimentary Wi-Fi.

  11. Spring Hill Suites The Dunes on Monterey Bay, Marina
    The Spring Hill Suites The Dunes on Monterey Bay, Marina, opened in 2017.

    This new 106-suite hotel opened in 2017 atop a hill with commanding views of the bay from its ocean-facing back deck and rooftop observatory deck. Guests will love the conveniences in the room (a microwave and mini-fridge) and the free Wi-Fi and breakfast. It's also a perfect spot for travelers to cash in their Marriott points. The excellent Bayonet & Black Horse courses are three miles away.

  12. Asilomar Conference Grounds, Pacific Grove
    The Asilomar Conference Grounds in Pacific Grove can provide accommodations for golfers.

    This won't be your traditional golf resort experience. This 107 acres is part of the Asilomar State Beach. Are golfers visiting Monterey ready to rough it in cozy cottages and historic lodges? A Stay & Play Golf Package includes: A two-night stay will net a voucher for one round of golf for two people at Pacific Grove Golf Links. The course, nicknamed the "Poor Man's Pebble Beach", is a little quirky for the first nine holes before a beautiful back nine on the shore brings golfers home.

Jason Scott Deegan has reviewed and photographed more than 1,000 courses and written about golf destinations in 20 countries for some of the industry's biggest publications. His work has been honored by the Golf Writer's Association of America and the Michigan Press Association. Follow him on Instagram at @jasondeegangolfpass and Twitter at @WorldGolfer.
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California Dreamin': The best hotels for golfers on the Monterey Peninsula